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An Apple a Day!

An Apple a Day!

September 13, 2012
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Ever have a childhood dream? How about the opportunity to fulfill that dream as an adult? I am extremely lucky; I am a therapeutic riding instructor for children and adults with disabilities in the heart of the city in Philadelphia, PA. We have a particular group of ladies who volunteer on the weekdays who are the heart and soul of our program. They help make our lessons possible! A couple of years ago, the riding academy decided to add a "Senior Saddles," or a 55 class. Many of our volunteers signed up for these lessons and I am privileged to be their instructor! It is truly a dream come true for these volunteers to help exercise our therapy horses and increase their riding skills. In Senior Saddles, we strive to stay healthy and active. We’ve had the summer off and it’s time to "get back in the saddle!" At our barn, fall weather means trail riding through our local parks, crisp fall air and apple season!

Our hard-working crew of horses often gets spoiled with a favorite fall treat - fresh picked apples! One of the orchards dropped off a huge batch of fresh picked apples for the horses this week, so I grabbed a few to take home. To catch up with my friends before lessons start, I am hosting a get together at my house. I plan on making this great Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake.

When my sons heard that my "barn buddies" were coming over there were "hoorays!" all the way around and they galloped into the kitchen in full riding gear to help. Hmmm... I really don’t object to my boys wearing helmets - it’s much safer for everyone involved.

I heated the oven to 375°F, and then greased a 9" square baking pan.

First I chopped up 1 cooking apple. I just used one of the apples that was picked out of the orchard. Otherwise I would have used a Braeburn apple which I typically have in my refrigerator.

Quick & easy! All the ingredients just get dumped into the bowl! First measure 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour and place in a medium mixing bowl.

I would love to tell you delicate directions like "gently pour" the 1/2 cup sugar into the bowl. But I can’t, I have boys. I’m just going to let you know that despite the better judgment of the 4 year old, we decided to dump in the sugar with the "boring, old" measuring cup. Not with the dump truck that would have been more fun. In no way would that be safe or sanitary - I value my friends way too much to do that to them. However, they would not be surprised!

Add in 2 teaspoons of baking powder…

…then a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

So I could avoid the horses "galloping" through the snowy field of sour cream and the "jump off" to see which horse could clear the tub of cinnamon sugar butter spread, I just added them to the mix myself. Who am I to take away space from the dinosaurs, horses and stuffed animals that have to be on the counter when we bake something? I am proud to say that my boys were partially raised "in a barn" - they’re going to grow up to be better people that way!

Here’s when you add in the 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar butter spread. I love using this spread! It’s the best when making cinnamon sugar toast - no mess of having to do the butter, then sprinkle the sugar, then cinnamon!

Next add 1/3 cup milk into the coffee cake batter...

Followed by 2 eggs.

This is also a recipe that goes together so quickly and easily that you don’t even have to use a mixer. You can just use your spatula.

Last thing to add to the batter is the chopped apple, and then just mix it in!

Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Now it’s time to make the topping!

Just mix 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar, and 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar butter spread in a small bowl.

In the words of my enthusiastic helpers, "smash it up with the fork…"

…until it looks like this!

Spread the topping across the pan evenly. I found that it spread across the entire pan if I used my fingers. If you like a really "crumble-topped" coffee cake, just double the topping recipe and use the whole thing on top.

Place the coffee cake into the oven to bake for 28 to 32 minutes. I checked my cake at 28 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the middle and it came out clean. I pulled the cake out of the oven and let it cool completely.

For my friends, I like cutting the coffee cake into bite size squares, perfect for sharing!

If an apple a day truly keeps the doctor away, look at this! I made the cake and got to eat it, too! What a great way to kick off the fall season with friends. I could even imagine a few of our four- legged friends at the barn would probably like a slice or two, but they’ll just have to stick to carrots and apples!

If you find yourself with extra apples, do yourself a favor and make this Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake, then come back and rate and review the recipe.

Check back in a few days when Bridget will share a great way to use extra veggies.

Alex is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.

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